Success Stories

Here are some examples of how your donations are helping shelters and rescue groups, in the organizations’ own words.

Alberta (AB) Herding Dog Rescue: Orvis Animal Care Grant
What was the money or product used for?

The grant money was used to purchase Roll Over chew treats, bully sticks & twists.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The foster dogs in our care have rotating play-yard privileges (with dogs of similar size and personality) and while they wait their turn to go outside to play, we like to give them something to chew on. The act of chewing provides stress relief for these highly active and energetic dogs. It provides them an allowable outlet other than chewing or destroying things they shouldn’t.

How many pets did this grant help?

More than 30 dogs over several weeks.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

In the time that we had these chews, we had five dogs adopted (pictured from top to bottom): Chewy, Sadie, Maui, Jack and Roxy. Sadly, we have run out of the chews and still have many more dogs looking for forever homes.

Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon: Purina New Year, New Home
What was the money or product used for?

The money was used to offset adoption fees.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The grant made it possible for more senior citizens and veterans to adopt senior dogs. It was also used to waive fees for hard-to-place dogs who had extensive medical needs.

How many pets did this grant help?

The grant allowed us to offer reduced adoption fees for 90 dogs, and waived fees for another five dogs from the time the grant was received until the present time.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Freckles was a very elderly sweet Australian shepherd who came to us because his human had passed away. He needed love and stability, and, as it turned out, a whole lot of medical care. Freckles was obese, and his nasal passages were raw and ulcerated. Our vet diagnosed Freckles with discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), a canine version of lupus that caused sores in his nasal tissues, and a thyroid condition, which contributed to his obesity.

We found a wonderful foster for Freckles and he soon settled into their home, made friends with their terrier, and began to adjust to his new life. And then something awful happened: Freckles tore the canid cruciate ligament in his back leg (the dog equivalent of an ACL tear in a human knee), a painful and debilitating injury. The combination of his excessive weight, atrophied muscles, and the steroid treatment he was taking for his lupus proved too much for his knee. Without the surgery, Freckles would be in too much pain to have a decent quality of life. But the surgery cost thousands of dollars. SDRO is funded exclusively through donations and the hard work of volunteers. With the money it would take to fix Freckles’ knee, SDRO could help many, many other dogs who also needed love, care, and new homes.

But we weren’t ready to give up on Freckles. Freckles’ foster family started a GoFundMe campaign to pay for Freckles’ surgery, and shared it on Facebook. Friends, colleagues, and even a few strangers donated to help Freckles. When we reached $1,000 after three days, we were able to go ahead with surgery.

Repairing a torn CCL requires reconstructing the knee by inserting a wedge into the bone of the lower femur. It is an invasive surgery with a long recovery, made even longer for Freckles by the side effects of the medication to treat his lupus. After surgery, Freckles needed round-the-clock care, which his foster family lovingly provided, until the wedge healed into the bone.

They told us, “Through the winter, Freckles healed. Week by week, he needed less and less assistance walking. His mood brightened; his energy increased. The lesions in his nose turned from red to healthy pink. His weight went down. He became more present in his eyes, more trusting and bonded to our family. At Christmas, he was unable to move anywhere on his own, but by January, he could get up and down on his own. In February, when it snowed Freckles stood in the yard and wagged his tail as our children built a snowman. And by March he was walking around the garden, exploring the flowers sprouting from the earth.” Freckles was ready for adoption.

After nursing Freckles through so much trauma, and growing to love him, Freckles’ foster family gave him the ultimate gift of love: a forever home of his own! From the moment his new mom sat down on the floor with Freckles, it was clear that they were meant to be together and that Freckles would be adored and thriving in their care. However, he would continue to need medical care throughout his life. With the aid of the Petfinder Foundation New Year, New Home Pet Adoption grant, Senior Dog Rescue was able to waive the adoption fee for Freckles.

Darlington County Humane Society: Petfinder Adoption Options in Action Grant (Invitation Only)
What was the money or product used for?

The grant was used to purchase a camera to photograph our pets in need.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The camera was a godsend for us. We started to use the camera during the first week of September and the impact was immediate. Our rescue partners started to notice better-quality photos and in greater quantity, and our adopters too were responding more and asking about pets under our care. More pets were simply going home! For the months of September and October, we took in 441 pets (cats and dogs), and 353 were either adopted or pulled by preapproved rescue partners. We still have much work to do as the intake quantity versus the safe quantity are not where we want them to be, but it is a work in progress and a job we work on daily. Thank you for helping us to get closer to our goal of being a no-kill shelter.

How many pets did this grant help?

353

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Milo is my favorite adoption story. He arrived very shy and with another dog who was quickly pulled by a rescue, as she was on the verge of birthing. Milo was at a real loss being left behind. He had arrived on July 19 and no one had been able to snap pictures and or write a bio on him. He was sitting unnoticed and the clock was ticking. I met him on Sept. 9. Milo turned out to be THE best photo subject. He was happy and animated and very child-friendly! He was a different pet than the one with scant info online. Shortly after I updated his info online, we heard from one of our rescue groups, Home at Last Rescue in Pennsylvania. They wanted Milo! Milo left on transport several weeks ago (making the 10-hour journey up I-95 from South Carolina to Pennsylvania) and recently I learned the super news that his foster mom adopted him. It was official: He now had a new home!

This is the bio I wrote for him: “Update, Sept. 9: What a class act! Milo is such a lovely dog! Arriving with his best friend Lola (who has since birthed a litter of pups), Milo was a bit at a loss when she went into foster care. To see him today is honestly just pure joy! He has done such a wonderful job of settling in and making new friends. Nicely sharing his space with a teen and a younger, very bouncy dog, Milo takes everything in great stride and welcomes all into his world with a wide grin and softly wagging tail. Very polite and super easy to walk/manage, he’s a great choice for folks of all ages and brings a nice, calming energy to the group. Although he’s just about 1 year old, he has a more mature outlook on life, but will rev up his game when prompted to! While Milo was out in the exercise pen, for example, silly teen pup Casper grabbed the end of his leash and walked him around, and then started a fun-spirited game of tug-of-war. Milo is the perfect size pet: not too big, not too small. He would tell you, he’s ideal for any lap! Milo is a real keeper and ready to move on into his new pet role!”

Melissa's Menagerie's Second Chances: Cat Enrichment
What was the money or product used for?

The money was used to purchase cat enrichment items for our new cat room, including two food puzzles, a 5×7-ft. sisal mat mounted on the wall for climbing, a LickiMat slow-feeder cat mat, a PetSafe FUNKitty Egg Cersizer Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser, a Catit Senses 2.0 digger for cats, and two water fountains. We also purchase two premade hammocks, and materials to make two sets of double-decker hammocks that hang from the ceiling. We also purchased two cat towers — one for our new room and one for the old room. We purchased an IKEA cube shelf and then purchased cube beds to put on the shelves. We purchased two cat tunnels, packs of toys, and two wand toys, and made mats and beds out of sisal and fleece.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The nine cats and kittens who live in our new cat room are the happiest group of felines. Three started out very shy and hid all the time. But the treat puzzles have lured them from hiding, and now they are starting to play with humans more. The cat towers and hammocks provide the cats with relaxing places to nap, and the tunnels and toys keep the younger cats occupied and active. The climbing wall is also very popular among our resident felines. In all, the enrichment items we provide keep the younger cats healthy and active and are helping to socialize the shy cats in our care.

How many pets did this grant help?

Nine cats currently reside in the room. Cats rotate into the room from foster homes when they are ready for adoption. We plan to care for approximately 100 cats in this room each year.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Anise (first and second photos) is one of our long-timers and has been in our care since March 2019. She was rescued with her five kittens, all of whom were adopted in the early summer after they were old enough to be spayed and neutered. Anise was not feral, but was extremely shy. She would not make eye contact with humans, and would hide whenever humans tried to interact with her. Since moving into our new cat room in September, Anise has slowly come out of her shell. She is spending more time out in the room instead of hiding in the cat tree. Her favorite perch is a shelf near the window. She recently began interacting with the food puzzles, and playing with the other cats in the process. We are very excited to report that these cat-enrichment activities provided by the grant are slowly bringing Anise out of her shell, which we are positive will lead to a kind and loving purrever home. Meet Anise here.

Safe Haven Cat Sanctuary: P.L.A.Y. Pet Beds
What was the money or product used for?

The beds have been used to provide bedding for pets awaiting adoption.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The beds allowed for me to provide a comfortable bed for kittens as they wait for adoption. When they are adopted, the bed goes with them as it allows for an easier transition when they have something at their new home that is familiar.

How many pets did this grant help?

4

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Daphne was discovered cowering on the outdoor patio of a restaurant. She was approximately 6 weeks old. She was quite feral when I took her in and she needed to be kenneled in order to properly socialize her. She was provided with one of the pet beds for comfort, a cat tree for climbing, and toys, because as a feral, toys were foreign. Daphne was posted on my Facebook page because she had not yet been altered (I only adopt out pets who have been altered and vaccinated). One of my followers contacted me through Facebook the day before she was listed and Daphne ended up going to a home with another tortie. She is very happy with her new family and made a successful transition from feral to domesticated and socialized.

Denison Animal Welfare Group: Dog Field Trips/Short-Term Fostering Grant
What was the money or product used for?

We purchased leashes, harnesses, martingale collars, and tags.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

DAWG was able to send people and pets out fully equipped for field trips with safe collars and leashes to prevent escape. The field-trip program helped our pets by letting them be seen out and about in the community and shared across social media.

How many pets did this grant help?

20

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Sherlock was an older dog who hated the shelter environment. He appeared scary and loud, barking and snapping at anyone who walked by his kennel. The odds of him ever being adopted were slim. We sent him out to a foster home with the materials purchased with the Petfinder Foundation grant and he turned into a different animal! Happy and pleasant, his behavior changed completely. He was adopted a short time later.

South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter: Play Yard Renovation Grant
What was the money or product used for?

The money was put towards our play-yard renovation.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant gave us the opportunity to make the play yard safer for our pets; we were able to level out the ground, fill in holes and add play equipment for them.

How many pets did this grant help?

Around 100 so far

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Diamond (first photo) was a cruelty case who came in scared and protective and had barrier issues. Our being able to gain her trust and get her out into the yard with other dogs in playgroup has helped her tremendously. She has blossomed into a wonderful dog who is now one of our go-to playgroup rock stars! Meet Diamond here.

Circle of Friends Humane Society: Dogs Playing for Life Mentorship Grant
What was the money or product used for?

Money was used to pay tuition for a Dogs Playing For Life Mentorship.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

We are now currently doing doing daily playgroups. The dogs are happier and calmer. We have noticed fewer behavioral issues with the dogs in our care. We are able to assess them more thoroughly prior to adoption as well as help guide potential adopters to the best-suited dog for them and their lifestyle. Overall, our dog population is much more adoptable.

How many pets did this grant help?

144

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

There is a lot we can say about Rolo (first collage). He originally came in as a stray, terrified and defensive, and was later revealed to be suffering from joint pain caused by Lyme disease. But Rolo’s story really starts the second time he came to us: A return with a bite under his belt and the word “aggressive” scrawled and underlined on every page.

In sheltering, we often hear the term “aggressive” very differently than the average pet owner. An aggressive animal is unhandleable and unsafe for the community. Yet in the same letter where they called Rolo an aggressive dog, they also said they loved him and they needed him to find a better home, and discussed how much he loved his family and his cat friend, who frequently shared meals with him. The behavior they were describing involved leash reactivity and guarding territory that his family frequented.

We all knew that Rolo had always needed time to warm up to new people, often preferring to walk on the other side of the road if there was a crowd. We were sad to hear that the behavior was worse for them at home and that they were unable to give him the training he needed at this time, but no part of us believed he was unadoptable.

Rolo needed a different home and another chance, but he also needed a specialized adoption to avoid any accidental bites like the one he had done when one of the family had gotten in between Rolo and the stranger he was barking at. In an area dominated by apartments, a dog looking for a fenced-in yard and no on-leash introductions is going to have a longer stay. Rolo almost suffered kennel breakdown the first time, and we were all worried about what it would be like for him now. Then, a week into his stay, I came back with new training and a new way to give Rolo a chance.

None of us knew if Rolo even liked other dogs. With his on-leash reactivity and defensive behavior prior to pain-management treatment, we had been unable to properly introduce Rolo to other dogs without him barking and snapping in the air and scaring them off. Now we were going to take Rolo out in the yard and let him have the freedom he needed.

Rolo was out first, and then we let out Duke, who we knew loved other dogs and was more submissive on first meeting. There was no fur raised and no barking. Rolo ran up and sniffed, then began jumping. When we say him play-bow for the first time, we knew we had our solution. Rolo became our playgroup rockstar. He was the first to go out and the last to come in most days, provided his joint pain was not acting up. He played with the gentle-and-dainties and the rough-and-rowdies. Rolo even became the appropriate example for the puppies and dogs who were borderline seek-and-destroy. Rolo became friendlier with our volunteers knowing that, when he saw them, it was most likely playgroup time, and he also showed significant less in-kennel stress. Rolo even learned to share his favorite thing in the world out in playgroup: the pool.

Rolo was adopted to a wonderful family, happy to have a friend for both them and their other pets. He has been in his home for two months now and they have reported that he is a natural fit for the family.

Gaston (second collage) was one of the dogs who benefited from Rolo’s guidance. Gaston was a stray shepherd mix estimated to be a little under a year old. He tended to use his mouth to explore the world, gnawing on leashes and beds and trying to use hands or clothing as toys.

The first couple of times he entered the play yard, he had a very fearful posture and acted like prey. Rolo was able to lead by example, giving him space and distracting the other dogs who wanted to chase him. He was able to correct Gaston’s behaviors instead of us intervening. Gaston went from hiding behind our legs and snapping in the corner to running out of the gate, tail wagging, with a neutral and wiggly body. Thanks to socializing with the appropriate adult dogs, he was able to gain confidence and playgroup became the best part of his day.

An added bonus was that the other dogs were able to begin correcting him for nipping or getting too rough during play, and that began to translate to how he interacted with volunteers and potential adopters.

Sergeant Calhoun (third collage), named for her obvious resemblance to the beloved (by our staff) Wreck-It Ralph character, was an adult shepherd who, on-leash, looked like all she wanted to do was fight any dog she saw. Although she was a stray who came to our shelter in the early days after Dogs Playing for Life training, we still took a moment to observe her reactions from outside the fence before heading into the play yard. She came out with her fur standing on-end and showing teeth when dogs sniffed too closely.

She was in a few small fights that were easily broken up with the spray bottle, but she was not letting other dogs correct her and was over-correcting them when trying to play.

She was a dog who, if she had been adopted during those first couple of days, we would have recommended an only-dog home. There was no play posture seen, and handlers were still needed to intervene in the fights she started, as she would not back off on her own. It took several playgroups during which Calhoun watched and observed the other dogs from the sidelines for her to begin showing interest. It ended up being a 10-month-old hound mix who began to slowly break her walls down.

This puppy was extremely playful, but also submissive. He would jump up on her and earn a snap or growl and immediately get low, waiting for his chance to try again. The two never fought because when she would come after him for jumping on her or running too close, he would roll over and wait. Over time, she began to correct him less and even started to seek him out as a companion in the yard. She never fully took the play posture that he showed, but one day when he was running circles around her and the other dogs, she started to chase him. He turned around and we all held our breath for a moment, thinking that she might not know what to do. All she did was bounce in place before running the other way, letting him chase her. It was a shock to see her fully engaged in play that way.

From there it was leaps and bounds of joining in with larger groups of dogs running the grass yard. Her corrections became more appropriate with time as well. We no longer had concerns introducing her to new dogs, knowing that she could be more calm now as long as she was off-leash.

Sergeant Calhoun was still adopted to an only-dog home by chance. She still gets to show off her new play skills when family dogs come over for a visit or they stop by the park.

Boxer Luv Rescue: Emergency Medical Grant
What was the money or product used for?

Intensive-care medical expenses

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

We needed to provide intensive care for our rescue Cotton. She required about 10 days in the ICU before transfer to foster care. The $1,000 grant was applied directly to those expenses.

How many pets did this grant help?

1

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

We pulled Cotton from Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson, AZ, which would have had to euthanize her due to her multiple medical problems. We are the only boxer rescue in Arizona, and without our help, she was going to be put down. She was found with BB pellets in on her left chest/thorax area; bark/shock collar burning and scarring under her neck; and terribly thin at only 38 lbs. Her face was red and hot to the touch. Cotton was brought in to the rescue and given a chance because there was a light in her eyes and she has a fighting spirit that wants to live. Her eyes were absolutely pleading with us to give her a chance.

She was immediately brought to a vet and developed labored breathing, was very uncomfortable, and showed signs that something serious was going on. She required immediate transfer to an emergency veterinary facility, where she received oxygen therapy related to aspiration pneumonia. She has a problem in her esophagus which will be scoped when she is stable. At the current time, she is unable to eat and has aspirated more than once. It is anticipated that she will need surgery on her esophagus to allow her to be able to eat. Her other burns and skin issues will also be addressed when she is stable.

She left the hospital, but was then hospitalized in the ICU again after her blood pressure and body temp dropped. A PICC line had to be placed in her femoral artery so that we could provide IV medicinal and fluid support. A normal catheter in a vein could not because of the BP loss and consistency of her blood. Additionally, she continued to lose significant weight (which she didn’t have to lose), had very little strength left (struggles to get up and would stumble and fall at times). She had no – zero – muscle mass. While her spirit is still loving it is not nearly as strong, she is clearly very tired.

We met with her medical team which includes the hospitals Medical Director and several specialists. We know she has a systemic Neuro Muscular Disorder. We know she has an immune-system issue. We know that she won’t be able to use her tongue or throat again due to the nerve damage and that she will have to continue to live on nutrition and hydration through the use of her surgically implanted gastrotomy feeding tube. We know that she’ll always be at risk of aspiration pneumonia (she just survived a bad battle with that a month ago). We also now know there’s nothing more that we can do for her. We’ve spent a fortune trying to figure her out and find long term, reasonable answers. She’s deserved every bit of it but, in the end, we’ve exhausted it all. We will lose her.

We moved her back to her amazing foster mom’s home. She loves being home and, with the help of some added steroids, got a bit of a physical and emotional boost over the weekend. This is where she needs to be until she lets us know its time. BLR, and Cotton especially, are blessed with a foster mom that is not only deeply committed to her but is also a certified veterinary technician. She’s got the medical expertise at her side, at all times.

On September 27, 2019 we made the decision to let her go. It was been worth every penny to give her a shot. We’ll never ask, “what if…..” Thank you for that amazing gift – to us, her doctors and especially her!

Kauai Humane Society: Dog Field Trips/Short-Term Fostering Grant
What was the money or product used for?

The money from the 2019 Dog Field Trips Grant was used to purchase new leashes, collapsible dog water bowls, and Kaua’i Humane Society metal water bottles for our Shelter Dogs on Field Trips Program.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Keeping up with our supply needs for our Shelter Dogs on Field Trips program is a challenge. The 2019 Dog Field Trips Grant helped ensure that we have the supplies necessary for our field-trip program to run efficiently, making the program more enjoyable for both our two- and four-legged participants. We include as many of our adoptable dogs as possible in the program because it is important for their mental and physical enrichment. As a result of this funding, we have been able to purchase the supplies we need, ensuring that the field trips we coordinate are safe and that the dogs’ needs will be met while they are out for the day.

How many pets did this grant help?

This grant helps 7-18 dogs, six days a week. It’s difficult to give an exact number of dogs because some go on field trips every day while others go less often. Our best estimate is that close to 50 different dogs have gone on field trips since our new supplies came in.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

The 2019 Dog Field Trips Grant has helped many dogs get adopted or receive transfer opportunities as a result of their participation in our Shelter Dogs on Field Trips Program! Muriel (first photo), a beautiful hound mix, was one of our dogs who was adopted as a result of our field-trip program. Her adopters took her on a field trip, “fell in love with her sweet brown eyes and warm puppy kisses,” and decided she needed to fly home to Washington to join their family. She is now happy and loved, and adjusting well to life in the Pacific Northwest!

Wylie (second photo), a sweet senior hound mix, was one of our dogs who received a full sponsorship to transfer through our A.L.O.H.A. Transfer Program because one of his field trip chaperones fell in love with him and wanted to see him transferred to a location where he’d have a better chance of getting adopted. Since homes are extremely limited on Kaua’i, she fundraised for his transfer, giving him the opportunity to join one of our rescue partners in Oakland, where he is now living it up in foster care while waiting for a home.